<hash>Wulf</hash> the latest <hash>Blues</hash> casualty
Tuesday, July 3, 2012 Sportal.co.nz Getty Images
As a result NZ Sevens wing Charles Piutau has been called into the side and with Gareth Anscombe ruled out, first five-eighths Orene Ai'i had been called in as cover for Michael Hobbs who is returning from injury.
David Raikuna was out while Hadleigh Parkes was coming back from concussion but unable to train before the end of the week and George Moala was coming back from a hamstring injury.
He also confirmed that All Blacks lock Anthony Boric was out for the remainder of the year as a result of surgery he needed on his back.
Lam said with the last game of the season at home for the side, against the Force on Saturday night, it was important the team finished well.
The extra break the Blues enjoyed, as a result of having the bye after the three week international window, had resulted in the players experiencing a lot of cramping when training last week – the result of not playing for a period of time.
"It just highlighted that the intensity of Super Rugby can't be replicated just from training," he said.
Lam, in spite of the frustrations the Blues had experienced, felt the competition was worthwhile and the fact so many teams were still in with a chance at the end of the season bore that out.
"I think everyone was looking forward to the games at the weekend after the international rugby," he said.
One player who looked to have benefited from the break, both for the Blues and the All Blacks, was second five-eighths Ma'a Nonu.
While it appeared strange that he was not played by the All Blacks selectors it now appears that he was deliberately rested with the knowledge the Sonny Bill Williams is unlikely to be available for the Rugby Championship. And the break hadn't done him any harm, according to Lam.
"I have to say he looks in great nick. When I saw him I just went, 'Wow, look at you'.
"He's got a smile on the face and physically he's looking in great knick, trimmed down and rearing to go," he said.
Lam felt that after 18 months of rugby no player could survive physically and mentally and the break had been good for Nonu.
"He gets a chance to have two good hit-outs now, then gets another break while we're not in play-offs and then he'll be able to build up for the Rugby Championship so he's in a good space at the moment and looking forward to playing this weekend," he said.
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